Awake: The Postmodern Reformation is Here
Episcopalians in liturgical style of worship strive to open the senses of mind and body, by means of Eucharistic pageantry, to an awareness of the calming presence of Christ. In a dialogue about worship with a young emerging Christian he said, "Father, your generation goes to church to hear the word of God, and my generation goes to church to feel the word of God." When young emerging Christians worship in a high energy contemporary service or a mystical Taize transformaize style service, it is about experiencing God with all the senses.
It is Marshal McLuhan's The medium is the Massage electronic media from the sixties. Western culture has entered into a process of media retribalization. Everyday, we are being transformed into a new global planet shaped by the transformative power of electronic/digital media.
We are returning, in the communication of spiritual matters, to Aristotle's discipline and practice of aesthetics as the main source of spiritual knowledge and awareness of the divine.Electronic aesthetics is the theological authority of a Postmodern culture. There is no hierarchical authority any longer; there is only persuasion by means of aesthetics.
Western Christianity shaped by the theology of Catholic scholasticism and the Reformation steadily eliminated the many of the senses from Christian worship until it became predominantly a matter of reading and hearing the printed word. Religious aesthetics is about the transmission and sharing of our experiences and feelings of God by means of the senses. We are coming to a deeper awareness of the Body of Christ as opposed to the Left Brain Rational Print of God.
Driven by digital/media, we have moved from a visual print culture to an acoustical touching culture. Everyday, from waking to sleeping, we hear and touch the PC keys, the Kindle, ipad, ipod; we hear and text all day.
We are involved in a cultural cybernetics of feedforward/feedback of information at the speed of light. It changes our culture. It changes the nature of the interaction of the brain and the senses. It does more than change our worship and preaching; it changes how we conceive God by means of the experiential community and inner mysticism.
In such a culture we must continuously enter the process of the deconstruction and reconstruction of Anglicanism if it is to survive. Let's take an example of the House of Bishops. What does it become in an age of electronic aesthetics? Probably, about ten national Bishops who are gifted electronic artists. Rectors will have to forget most of their theological training. Seminaries and clergy education are counter productive defenders of the Church of the Printed word. The laity, in love with their Victorian/quasi Catholic pageantry will have to watch slowly it pass away. What's the answer. It is the call to an Emerging Reform of western Christianity. The head trip is over. The electronic soul train is on the move.